UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
School psychologists team with teachers, school administrators, parents, and other mental health professionals to ensure that every child learns in a safe, healthy and supportive environment. School psychologists understand school systems, effective teaching, and successful learning. They help evaluate student and classroom needs and develop systematic interventions when needed. For more information about the profession of school psychology, see the webpage of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).
The curriculum at UWRF emphasizes collaboration, culturally-responsive practice, leadership development, and data-based decision making. Courses for the combined master's degree (M.S.E.) and specialist degree (Ed.S.) are primarily evening-based (4 p.m. or later start) and usually completed within four years. Many students find the structure to be an integral part of their success, allowing them to maintain daytime employment and/or time for other obligations as needed.
The main UWRF campus is conveniently located on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border and is just a 30 minute drive from St. Paul, Minn. Additionally, roughly half of the program credits are held at the Hudson Center, located just off of Interstate 94 in Hudson. The convenient location of the Hudson Center helps reduce commuting time for many School Psychology students. See the map below to locate Hudson and River Falls or click on Maps for more information.
School psychology graduate education can lead to Master's degrees, Specialist degrees, and Doctoral degrees. The Education Specialist degree (Ed.S. or equivalent) is the minimum degree required to practice as a school psychologist in most states. In terms of time to complete and total credits, the Ed.S. is part way between a Master's degree and a Doctoral degree.
Not all school psychology programs lead to all possible degrees. The program at UW-River Falls is a specialist-level program, with the Education Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) being the terminal degree. A Master's in Education (M.S.E.) is earned along the way and is an important milestone in the program, but students must complete the Ed.S. portion of the program to become license-eligible. Together, the M.S.E. and Ed.S. degrees make up the four-year school psychology program at UW-River Falls. Students earning the Ed.S. will have an excellent foundation in applied school psychology practice (i.e., direct work with children, youth, families, teachers and other educators in the school setting). Doctoral level training in school psychology is not offered at UW-River Falls. Prospective school psychology students interested primarily in college-level teaching and conducting research are encouraged to consider doctoral programs.
The UWRF School Psychology Program is fully accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Students are prepared with the highest quality nationally approved expectations, including comprehensive coursework and diverse field experiences. Graduates of NASP-approved programs are eligible for certification in Minnesota and Wisconsin and most other jurisdictions nationwide. Graduates of NASP-approved programs are also eligible for national certification (NCSP). Additionally, the program is approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI).
Tuition depends on residency and how far along students are in the curriculum (i.e., tuition changes as one progresses). For Wisconsin residents, the Master's Degree (M.S.E.) tuition is $424 per credit and then becomes $480 per credit during the specialist degree years (Ed.S.). For Minnesota residents with approved reciprocity status, tuition per credit is $555 (M.S.E portion) and then $480 (Ed.S.portion). Students from other states will be charged a higher out-of-state tuition rate. Tuition does not include the cost of textbooks or additional campus segregated fees. All tuition and fees noted here are based on 2020-21 rates and are subject to change.
UWRF does not have a respecialization process and can only grant degrees to students who have taken the bulk and core or their courses (credits) from this institution. The program can not waive practicum/internship in school psychology for a student who has completed a practicum/internship in counseling or clinical psychology. Candidates can only receive a degree and be considered graduates from UWRF if they have taken the core courses in school psychology from UWRF. A degree can not be granted based solely on transcripts submitted to the university.
A student with an advanced degree may transfer up to nine approved credits into the program. The transfer of credits may lighten the course load a student experiences in some semesters but the overall time needed to complete the program is not shortened in most cases. Contact the program director for more details.
While undergraduate coursework or majors in related fields are not required for entrance, they are viewed favorably by faculty and may enhance an application to the program. However, only graduate courses can be submitted for transfer credits. Courses submitted for transfer course are accepted only if they closely match a UWRF School Psychology course and only if they are five years old or less. Up to nine credits may be transferred into any UWRF graduate program. Prospective and current students are encouraged to consult with the program director about transferring credits. Transfer of graduate credits must be requested with the required credit transfer form.
The School Psychology Program does not give credit for work or life experience to fulfill a class requirement. Class requirements can only be waived through credits documented on a transcript. However, work experience may be considered an asset during the application process, and life and work experiences in related fields provide an excellent foundation for learning in graduate school.
Courses typically meet Monday through Thursday from September through May, with summer options being available for some classes. Most courses are primarily face-to-face and begin at 4 p.m. or later. During the first two years of the program, School Psychology Program students can expect to take classes two nights per week, though available summer sections provide some varied options. During the third and fourth years of the program, students spend less time on campus and more time completing required field experiences in schools. Some required courses are only offered in the summer, with most of those class sessions occurring in the evenings at 4 p.m. or later. See the Required Course Sequence for a listing of courses and what term each is offered.
During the third year of training, School Psychology students complete practicum with cooperating school districts in western Wisconsin and in or around the Twin Cities of Minnesota. The locations of these experiences are determined by program faculty and will be prioritized by student learning needs. Students complete two 300-hour practicum experiences in two different locations, for a total of 600 hours of field-based practicum work. This is equivalent to about 20 hours per week in a school setting for an entire school year. Students are expected to make practicum a priority. Students may need to reduce or eliminate other daytime work in order to accommodate the practicum experience. Consistent with national accreditation (NASP) requirements, the practicum experience is unpaid.
During the fourth year of training, School Psychology Program students complete a required 1200 hour internship. The internship is full-time and follows the completion of practicum and all other required coursework. Candidates for internship seek out their own internship sites and locations, with assistance from program faculty. Most School Psychology students complete the internship in Wisconsin or Minnesota, but proximity to campus in not required. Most internships are paid, many at the rate of a first-year practicing school psychologist.
Not usually. Registration for practicum and internship occurs only during the fall and spring semesters. Students are expected to attend seminars and participate in individual and group university supervision. Faculty do not usually provide supervision during the summer months, though exceptions have been made for unique or extraordinary situations. The program director must approve any exceptions.